Pulitzer-winning, scintillating studies in yearning and exile from a Bengali Bostonian woman of immense promise. A couple exchange unprecedented confessions during nightly blackouts in their Boston apartment as they struggle to cope with a heartbreaking loss; a student arrives in new lodgings in a mystifying new land and, while he awaits the ...
Pulitzer-winning, scintillating studies in yearning and exile from a Bengali Bostonian woman of immense promise. A couple exchange unprecedented confessions during nightly blackouts in their Boston apartment as they struggle to cope with a heartbreaking loss; a student arrives in new lodgings in a mystifying new land and, while he awaits the arrival of his arranged-marriage wife from Bengal, he finds his first bearings with the aid of the curious evening rituals that his centenarian landlady orchestrates; a schoolboy looks on while his childminder finds that the smallest dislocation can unbalance her new American life all too easily and send her spiralling into nostalgia for her homeland...Jhumpa Lahiri's prose is beautifully measured, subtle and sober, and she is a writer who leaves a lot unsaid, but this work is rich in observational detail, evocative of the yearnings of the exile (mostly Indians in Boston here), and full of emotional pull and reverberation.
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This collection of short stories is suffused with melancholy, yet I was not saddened or depressed by reading them. Many of them revolve around marriage, and many of the characters are lonely; it is their loneliness that makes them jump off the page, eager to share their burdens with the reader. I was engrossed in each story by the first paragraph, as Lahiri's elegant prose drew me in and carried me along.
I will certainly seek out her other work now, having seen how deep her characterization goes. Seeing people form on the page like this is a rare experience.
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